I’ve made enough granola bars to understand the science of them and know a few tricks. Most importantly, the bars need to be pressed before and after they are baked. Plus, you need to be patient and wait for them to cool completely before you do anything with them. Don’t even look at them. Finally, you need something to bind everything together. This recipe uses cherry juice and agave nectar, which get cooked down to make a thick, almost caramel-like sugary binder. It’s also the element that brings the stickiness and the jelly-ness to the granola bar. To make this even better, this recipe only calls for 8 ingredients and it’s gluten-free!

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Cherry Nut Bars [Vegan]

Serves

12

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup cherry juice
  • 1 cup agave nectar
  • 1 cup peanuts (unsalted)
  • 1 cup whole almonds (raw, unsalted)
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
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Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8×8 cake pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Combine the cherries, juice and agave nectar in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat slightly so the mixture is simmering. Let it cook for about 10 minutes, until it’s thick and syrupy.
  3. Let the cherry mixture sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes to cool. In the meantime, mix the rest of the ingredients in a medium bowl.
  4. Add the cherry mixture and mix well.
  5. Transfer the granola to the prepared cake pan. Use a sheet of saran wrap on top of the granola to press it firmly into the cake pan.  Remove the saran wrap and place the granola into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.
  6. As soon as the granola comes out of the oven use a spatula to press the mixture again. Let the bars cool completely at room temperature.
  7. When the granola is cooled, place a cutting board upside down on the cake pan. Carefully flip the whole apparatus over, so now the cutting board is on the counter and the cake pan is upside down on top of it. Give the cake pan a little shake and the granola should fall right out. Cut the granola into 12 bars and wrap in parchment paper. Store in a tupperware container at room temperature for 5-7 days.
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